Five scams to watch out for when visiting Pattaya

Pattaya much like all cities in the world that are heavily visited by tourists all year round has its fair share of scam artists, con men and confidence tricksters. Where there are large numbers of tourist’s spending money there will inevitably be those trying to exploit the fact. Some are relatively minor offenses such as a baht bus driver charging non locals an extra 10 baht here or there, however there are some cons which could cost you some serious money and potentially ruin your trip to the land of smiles.


Know we know everyone can be fooled from time to time even the most experienced and vigilant Thailand veteran is capable of being taken for a ride once and a while, however the best defence against it happening is knowing what to look out for along with a certain amount of scepticism, if you think something sounds too good to be true it more often than not is.
Because we here at Love Pattaya Thailand don’t want anything ruining your time here in Pattaya we have compiled a list of some of the most common conns to keep an eye out for.

Jet Ski Scam:

Perhaps the most well-known scam that’s been around for the last few years is the Jet Ski Scam.
If you go to any of Pattaya’s beaches there will no doubt be Jet Ski’s for rent and what could be better than a few hours tearing up the waves in the fabulous Pattaya sunshine right? You pay the rental fee strap on the life jacket and you’re out on the water having the time of your life. Its only when you take the Jet Ski back when your done does the trouble begin when the once friendly operator turns aggressive claiming that you have damaged his Jet Ski then demands that you pay for the alleged damage. If you’re lucky you might get away with paying a few thousand baht however there have been tales of people being made to fork over as much as 100,000 baht which could seriously ruin your holiday or your experience of Thailand as a whole. It’s not just Jet Ski’s where you should be wary of this con either renting a motorbike or any other vehicle really poses the same risks.

So what should you do to avoid this con?

While the obvious answer is to not rent anything we understand that is not the most practical. If you do rent anything take some time and do a little research and where possible pick bigger, well established, well know companies, these are less likely to try and pull a fast one.

Next even if using a well know company take pictures of the vehicle before you take it out, with nearly everyone owning a smart phone these days it’s quick and easy to take a few snaps and will be time stamped that way any pre-existing damage will be documented should you have any trouble. If renting a motor vehicle any reputable company should fill out a pre-existing damage form, if they don’t perhaps best to take your custom elsewhere.

The Sick Buffalo:

How many times have you heard a friend say “she’s different”, “were in love” she’s only just come to Pattaya from a little village up North and miraculously she speaks amazing English. They then spend all their time together during their trip before returning home counting the minutes till you can return to Thailand and be together, during which time she assures them that she will be a good girl while you’re gone.

While back home saving away for your or you’re “Friends” (for those not willing to admit by this point they have fallen for this one) return the unthinkable happens mama and papa’s buffalo gets terribly ill and the treatment for the animal which the family so heavily realise upon is incredibly expensive and she doesn’t want to ask you for the money but you’re their last hope.

The reality is that this same series of events is probably happening to multiple “boyfriends” which the girl is juggling who more often than not believe what the girl is telling them as gospel truth. It’s not uncommon for these girls to have as many as four or five foreign “sponsors” on the go at one time, each sending them money not to go back to working in the bar, which they probably still are working in at the same time.

How to get around this one.

The simplest way is to not fall in love with bar girls, though we note this is a lot easier said than done these girls are very convincing when they tell you they love you. Now we are not saying that all bar girls are like this and you very well might find the love of your life and live a long happy life together, however being guarded at the begging is definitely the best approach for both you’re heart and your wallet.

The Check bin Scam:

Now drinking in most bars in Thailand is a little different from the majority of bars around the world as you will more often than not receive a little wooden cup or “bin” where each time you order a drink a little receipt will be stuffed into. Over the course of an evening a bin can become rather full especially if you like a drink. Upon going to settle up before leaving your rifle through the mountain of papers to discover there is a few more drinks in your bin than you remember actually ordering. Now this could be an innocent mistake or the staff might be trying to pull a fast one hoping that you wouldn’t realise and just pay the total bill.

Another scam that can take place in bars revolves around notes you hand over 1,000 baht and only get the change back for a 500 baht note it’s your word against there’s and as more often than not as your drunk you put it down to your error and come to piece with losing 500 baht.

How not to fall into this one:

The simplest way to prevent extra drinks being added to your bin is to keep an eye on it and not let it build up, there’s nothing stopping you from paying up after two or three drinks and starting a new bin, this way you can keep a closer eye on what you’re spending.

As for the 1000 baht note scam try where possible to pay using smaller denominations that way the if there is a discrepancy in the change given it will be for a much smaller amount and more than likely sorted out without any fuss.

Releasing the birds con:

If you have visited a few temples in Thailand more often than not you will have probably come across a little stall with birds packed into little wooden cages. The vendor will waste no time informing you that it is a Buddhist ritual to release the little guys to bring you some good fortune. You pay the money watch the birds take flight and wander off feeling good in the knowledge that you must have no doubt receive some good Karma.

The thing is the birds are not kept in very good conditions, packed into tiny little cages and malnourished once they take to the skies they do not make it very far before being rounded up and placed back in the same cages. Some of the more experienced at the con have actually trained the birds to return to the cages once the punter has left ready for the next person looking to raise their karmic level.

What to do:

While in all fairness releasing animals is a Buddhist ritual with many Thai people choosing to release fish into streams and rivers on special days throughout the year. The harsh reality is that releasing the birds while your intentions may be good you are only facilitating the practice to continue. The stall holders have little regard for the animals other than what money can be made from them and as such spend very little on their welfare. The best thing you can do to avoid this con and in the long run for the animals themselves is to just say no.

The ladyboy Pickpocket Scam:

You’re making your way back to your accommodation after an evening out in Pattaya more often than not a little inebriated and basically high on the joys that a night in Pattaya brings when out of nowhere you find yourself in the clutches of a group of ladyboys all calling you “number one handsome man” and more often than not in somewhat of a strong headlock like hug. After finally managing to free yourself from their exceptionally strong clutches and continuing on your merry way you realise something more often than not a phone or wallet has gone missing.

Ways to avoid this one:

Try not to walk alone, stay in groups making yourself a harder target and also keep valuable possessions in your front pockets as opposed to your back pockets making them harder to get at. If someone comes up and puts their arms around you or tugs at you have a quick check of your possessions before walking off, know we know that’s easier said than done after a few beers but remaining vigilant is the best defence.

If you do notice something missing go and report it to either the tourist police or Pattaya police as soon as possible they will more often than not be able to track down the thief that took the item.
Well there you have it folks some advice on how to minimise the chances of a scam artist ruining your time here in Pattaya, while we must note that the overwhelming majority of people here in Pattaya are good honest folk.

We hope you have an enjoyable time whilst here in Pattaya.

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  1. Tony Martin

    I touch wood have not been scammed or had my wallet stolen but I never say never and I will always come to Pattaya love it and the people